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Jesus Challenges Our Ideas Blessedness

 

John 9:1-6

 

Jim

 

How often do we count our blessings from the view point of the earthly treasures that we possess? We may look at our houses, cars, bank accounts, our health, etc., and conclude that we have been blessed by God. It makes me wonder how the other two thirds of the world may think about blessings while living in poverty. They may have the tendency to think they are suffering the curse of God.

 

John 9:1-7

9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

 

3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

 

6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. NIV

 

The Jews who were alive when Christ walked the earth sought to measure their relationship with God by their physical blessings. They came to Jesus asking what made a certain man blind—was it his sins or his parent’s sins (John 9:1ff). They believed his blindness was the result of a failed relationship with God—they believed he was a sinner. To them health, wealth and prosperity were signs of God’s blessings. It is little wonder that Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. Lazarus the beggar went to heaven, while the rich man went to torment. A man in poverty blessed over the rich—do you think that maybe the rich man thought his riches were evidence of a healthy relationship with God.

 

God’s word challenges our worldly ideas of blessedness. Solomon tells us not to desire poverty or riches, for either may prove to be a curse.

 

Proverbs 30:8-9

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, 'Who is the LORD?'

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God. NIV

 

This warning is not only true about our individual circumstances, but it is also true about a congregation’s circumstances. The church at Laodicea felt blessed above others, she braggingly said, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But then God said, “But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:14-18) Nice church buildings, money in the bank, large membership, or exciting worship services. I am thankful for all our physical blessings, but physical blessings may blind us to the presence of God. The same may be said about the lack of physical blessings—the lack of this world’s goods may blind us to God’s presence.

 

To often the way we determine a congregation’s blessedness is very misleading. We look at a church’s physical size, riches, and building to consider whether the congregation is blessed. God sees differently than we see. Those congregations which seem to be thriving may actually be in worse shape than those congregations which seem to be hanging on by their fingernails. The church at Philadelphia was weak, but they were holding on in difficult times, and God promised to bless them.

 

Life from God is Our Greatest Blessing

 

Our intrinsic worth is not determined by our possessions or circumstances. One of the major difficulties of the world today is its low opinion of itself. I believe selfishness and our self-seeking ways are signs of this. We are trying to make the world revolve around ourselves to make us feel self-worth.

 

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 dollar bill?” Hands started going up.

 

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple the $20 dollar bill up. He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.

 

Well, he replied, “What if I do this?” and he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. Now, who still wants it?” still the hands went into the air.

 

My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. So it is with our lives. We sin, we lives less than what God designed us to live—this is really what sin is. We make bad decisions that create barriers that force us to spend our lives struggling to overcome. As a result we often feel worthless.

 

But do you realize that no matter what has happened or will happen to you, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to God and to those who truly love you.

 

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, or what we have, but by WHO WE ARE. You are created in God’s imagine. You were created as a child of God. God desires to recall you in Jesus Christ.

 

We must remember that even a soul in a lost condition retains its value.

 

Matthew 16:24-26

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? NIV

 

What a great blessing to be created with such an inestimable value that can never diminish. It astonishes me that we tend to measure ourselves by this world’s riches, when each of us is the greatest blessing to the world that God has to offer. Nothing you can accomplish or possess can make you more valuable than you already are.

 

The value Christianity places upon each of our souls is what sets it apart from all other religions. Christianity places such a high value upon each person. God has said to each of us that his Son is not too high a price to pay to save our souls.

 

1 Peter 1:18-20

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. NIV

 

True Blessings Come from Heavenly Realms

 

True blessings are not found in the physical world, but the spiritual. To realize these spiritual blessings we must see life from God’s perspective. The book of Ephesians strives to allow us to peer into the heavenly realms to see our true blessings.

 

Ephesians 1:3-8

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. NIV

 

The blessing we have in Christ are proof of our intrinsic worth. The world seeks to diminish our value, but God says it cannot be diminished. It was determined before you were born—and is truly realized in Christ.

 

Paul wants us to peer into the heavenly realms so that we can catch a glimpse of our spiritual blessings in Christ. John was called up in his vision to see streets paved with gold. Paul was caught up into the heavenly realms in a vision to see things too wonderful to express.

 

God wants you to focus on the heavenly realms, for there is no way you can understand your true blessings until you peer over into heaven. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2, 3). Paul says, “Your life is hidden with Christ.” We usually hide our valuables, hopefully in a safe place a thief wouldn’t think of looking. God has hidden you, his most valuable treasure in Christ. There we are protected from the thief who desires to plunder our lives.

 

Paul says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). God is going to reveal all his treasures hidden in Christ when Christ returns, then we will definitely understand how treasured we are by the creator. We are going to march in that final triumphant procession with all the greats of the past as the angels sing alleluia choruses to Almighty God. We will be led though the streets of gold displayed as the treasure of Almighty God.

 

We live in a dark world that tends to blind us to the heavenly realities. The battles we fight are not with flesh and blood on earth, but with satanic powers which dwell in heavenly places.

 

Ephesians 6:10-13

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. NIV

 

The blessing is that we have a power at work for us that’s stronger than all the demons hell can send against us.

 

Ephesians 1:17-23

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV

 

God’s Greatest Work is Done though Us

 

The religious people in John 9 looked at the blind man and thought he was in his condition because he had sinned, or perhaps his parents had sinned. Either way he had been cursed by God. However, Jesus says, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

 

It is true that heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament reveals his handiwork, but his most revealing work is what he desires to do through you. We must peer into heaven to realize our spiritual blessings, but it is impossible to understand our spiritual blessings without knowing that God wishes to reveal his greatest work in each of us.

 

God desires to display his greatest work in your life. Paul said, “We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9-10).The prophets of old, even the angels in heaven longed to understand the work God was endeavoring to do though us.

 

1 Peter 1:10-14

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

 

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. NIV

 

Peter says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” There is no way God can reveal his work through us until we prepare our minds for action. It is not easy to live in this world and maintain a holy walk. The anti-God atmosphere around us that the Bible calls "the world" is always pressing against us, trying to force us to conform our thinking to its way of thinking.

 

We are under a constant barrage of advertisements and appeals that are designed to get us to focus on what we should believe we deserve of this world’s good. They are designed to persuade us to measure ourselves by our things, our money, our possessions, our abilities, our opinions or our achievements. The basic design of these appeals is to take our focus off of God’s work he desires to do through us. These seek to convince us that what we need the world always owes it to us.

 

The world doesn’t want you to believe that you could never be more valuable to God than you are at this very moment. The ironic thing about the persuasion of the world is that prods us into believing this world’s goods will make our lives a blessing, while it deprives us of the very thing it says we need.

 

Being made in the image of God is our greatest blessing. God offers you an opportunity to allow him to salvage your priceless life through the death of his Son. The amazing thing is that it is a free gift, but it not cheap. It cost God his Son.

 

Conclusion:

 

Give the plan of salvation:

 

Hear

 

Believe

 

Repent

 

Confess

 

Be baptized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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